Excerpt from Crusoe's Island: A Bird-Hunter's Story
Looking more carefully at the difference between the two directions of the new education we can see what each accomplishes. There is first an effort to train the original powers of the individual and make him self-active, quick at observation, and free in his thinking. Next, the new education endeavors, by the reading of books and the study of the wisdom of the race, to make the child or youth a participator in the results of experience of all mankind.
These two movements may be made antagonistic by poor teaching. The book knowledge, containing as it does the precious lesson of human experience, may be so taught as to bring with it only dead rules of conduct, only dead scraps of information, and no stimulant to origin al thinking. Its contents may be memorized without being understood. On the other hand, the self -activity of the child may be stimulated at the expense of his social well-being - his originality may be cultivated at the expense of his rationality. If he is taught persistently to have his own way, to trust only his own senses. To cling to his own Opinions heedless of the experience of his fellows, he is pre paring for an unsuccessful, misanthropic career, and is likely enough to end his life in a madhouse.
It is admitted that a too exclusive study of the knowledge found in books, the knowledge which is aggregated from the experience and thought of other people, may result in loading the mind of the pupil with material which he can not use to advantage.
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